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The Life of Margaret Laurence by James King (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
An account of one of Canada's best loved writers, Margaret Laurence, author of the Manawaka novels, including The Diviners and The Stone Angel, her conflicted life as a daughter, mother, writer, and woman. When I first picked this book up, it was because I had enjoyed some of Laurence's fiction in high school and had a sneaking suspicion that this woman, of heavy stature and Bubbles-like glasses that couldn't quite hide intense dark eyes, that this woman had set the stage for all Canadian writers that came after her.

I've never read any autobiographies of anyone, save for a sports star or two, and I was uncertain as to whether or not a book recounting the life of a woman whose work I haven't read in years would be wortwhile. Well - it was. At first I was hoping to gleam some writerly tips from Laurence's life, to gain some confidence about myself and see how a great novelist dealt with failure and the like. True, this was all there, but that's not what sold me on this. King does an incredible job mixing historical accounts of Laurence with snippets of her from letters and journal entries, resulting in a very real and human portrait of a troubled author with a zest for life.

A bad mother? One of the finest writers to come out of Canada, ever? A drunk? A philanthropist? A warm hearted woman with undying passion for life? A sex fiend who had it rough?

I believe that Margaret Laurence was all of these things, but was never defined by any of them. This book has prompted me to return to the small fictional prairie town of Mawaka, to unforgettable characters like Hagar Shipley and and folks from her author novels and short fiction.

What says Andrew?

:4stars: and a half stars


Senior Member
I've never read any Margaret Laurence, though I know I should. All I've heard is that she is depressing... Ill read the Stone Angel over the summer though.

What do you mean by 'What says Andrew?' Cause you remind me of a friend's friend named Andrew and that seems like it could more than a coincidence. Does De La Salle mean anything to you?


Senior Member
By 'What says Andrew' I mean, what does Andrew think of the book - Andrew being me and the whole thing being a cheesy tactic to sound cool.

Sorry, name doesn't ring a bell.

And yes, the Stone Angel is depressing as fuck, but a pretty good read, if you can stomach lengthy descriptions of the horrors of getting old ;).